Hovering over Psalm 85 this morning. And while the mind is spinning, the fingers aren’t getting much traction. Finding it hard to put thought into sentences, impressions into paragraphs.
What grabbed me is the songwriters’ plea for restoration and revival. For knowing return and being re-energized. And the songwriters’ confidence, by faith, that the God who has been “favorable” in the past; who has already forgiven iniquity and covered sin; who has before withdrawn His wrath and turned away His anger, is the God of who will do it again.
And that’s where I kind of stall out . . .
So went back into my journal. Here’s how I thought about it one morning back in 2009 . . . unedited . . .
So . . . it’s Psalm 85 that I’m chewing on this morning. There’s always a danger about jumping to application too quickly . . . but hey, I think “devotional reading” is not so much about gaining some knowledge for the day as it is about picking up some practical tips or receiving some encouragement for navigating what’s ahead in the next 24 hours. And the middle section of Psalm 85 seems to provide some fuel for the fire as I head out for the day . . .
Ok . . . the big picture . . . I don’t know exactly what the nation of Israel or the Psalmist are enduring at the time this Psalm is written but it seems to be some pretty tough stuff . . . stuff that has made God seem somewhat distant . . . as if He’s angry with them. Based on my readings in Judges, it feels like the kind of position they might be in when they have turned from God toward idols, when God has judged them through other nations, and, as a result, their hearts are being turned back to their God and they’re seeking His deliverance. And the Psalm seems to have 3 main parts: 1) God, You have been our deliverer in the past . . . You are mighty to save . . . You have covered sin and forgiven our iniquity; 2) Do it again God; 3) I’ll rest in confidence that You will answer my prayer and act . . . I will know God’s intervention . . . I will hear His voice . . . mercy and truth will meet . . . righteousness and peace will kiss . . . my God is so faithful, it’s a done deal! And it’s that “do it again God” portion of the Psalm that’s got me thinking.
As I read verses 4 through 7 over and over they really seem to be about “us” . . . literally . . . “Restore us” . . . “Revive us” . . . “Show us Your mercy” . . . “Grant us Your salvation”. Sometimes . . . it is about us . . .
Now while the Psalmist’s exact situation may not be something I’ve known, there are times when I feel like I’ve been de-railed . . . my focus shifted from my home in heaven and consumed with the circumstances of my pilgrimage . . . times when God doesn’t seem “as close” . . . and I know it’s not that He’s moved, it’s me . . . and at some point while in this “distant land,” I realize a thirst for the way things were . . . when God and I were really enjoying communion and fellowship . . . and in that place, it seems to me that it would be appropriate to take the Psalmists queue and make it about us . . .
Restore us, Lord . . . bring us back to that place, my God . . . return me to the intimacy I have known with You . . . that’s my desire . . . I look to Your gracious work. Revive us, Lord . . . give back some life . . . stoke the fire . . . refresh the weary . . . jazz the un-jazzed . . . that my thirst would become full out pursuit . . . that my pilot light would fan into a rip, roaring flame . . . again, Your gracious work. Show us mercy, Lord . . . let me know again Your goodness . . . Your kindness . . . Your faithfulness . . . remind my repenting heart that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin . . . let me see again the cross and it’s all sufficiency to cover all my transgressions . . . open my eyes afresh to Your mercy and grace, that I might be encouraged. And, finally, grant us Your salvation, Lord . . . deliver me from current uncertainty . . . let me know victory — not necessarily over my particular circumstance — but over the sense of separation I have from You . . . victory from the doubts . . . victory from the depression . . . victory from the distance. God . . . make it about us . . .
Oh, that I would have the Psalmist’s heart . . . that when the going gets tough, that I would getting going to my God . . . and prevail upon His grace . . . and seek His face . . . that He would restore . . . that He would revive . . . that He would show mercy . . . that He would grant salvation. That I would do so with confidence knowing that He will respond and speak peace to His people and to His saints (85:8) . . . that His salvation is near and that His glory will dwell in the land (85:9).
Father, thank You that sometimes it is about us . . . and our need for You to draw us again to Yourself . . . Revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You (85:6) . . . for our blessing and benefit . . . and for Your glory . . . amen!!!